Alumni & Giving

Virtual Weitzman School Talk: ‘Preserving Black History: Towards a More Inclusive Movement’

Thursday, November 12, 2020 12:00pm1:00pm
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Join Monica Rhodes (MSHP’12), Professor Randall Mason, and Mark Gardner (MArch’00) for a conversation on preserving the legacy of civil rights history, and the creation of the Weitzman School’s new Center for the Preservation of Civil Rights Sites. This event is part of this year’s Penn Homecoming@Home.

About the Participants:


Monica Rhodes (MSHP’12)
Director of Resource Management at the National Park Foundation

Monica Rhodes is the director of Resource Management at the National Park Foundation. In this role, Rhodes oversees facility and construction grant-making to the National Park Service and helps leads efforts to develop strategies for African American and Latinx engagement. Prior to her role at NPF, Rhodes was the founding director of the National Trust’s HOPE (Hands-On Preservation Experience) Crew, which was created to expand the preservation movement to a younger, more diverse audience. In the five years of leading HOPE Crew, Rhodes guided over 165 preservation construction projects, trained 750 young people and veterans, and engaged 3700 volunteers in large-scale community events. Under her leadership, the program garnered more than 1 billion media impressions and supported $18 million of preservation work, primarily in national parks. Before joining the Trust, Rhodes worked as a consultant to preservation non-profits.

Rhodes' work has been featured in national outlets like PBS NewsHour, Huffington Post, Washington Post, and U.S. News & World Report. She also appeared in a feature spread on women in the preservation movement in Essence Magazine’s Spring 2018 issue. Separate from her work with NPF, Rhodes sits on the Commission for Historical and Architectural Preservation (CHAP) and the Market Center Community Development Corporation board in Baltimore City. She also serves as an advisor for the DC LGBTQ Historic Context Study and a project reviewer for the Facilities and Buildings grant program for the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities.

Rhodes earned her undergraduate degree in History at the University of Tulsa and a Master’s degree in African American Studies at Temple University. She also attended the University of Pennsylvania where she received a Master’s degree in Historic Preservation.

Professor Randall Mason
Associate Professor, Historic Preservation, and Faculty Director of the Center for the Preservation of Civil Rights Sites

Randy Mason teaches in the Graduate Program in Historic Preservation and is Associate Professor in the Department of City & Regional Planning. His courses focus on historic preservation planning, urban conservation, history, and cultural landscape studies. Mason's research interests include theory and methods of preservation planning, cultural policy, the economics of preservation, historic site management, the history and design of memorials, and the history of historic preservation. He leads the Urban Heritage Project, which undertakes applied research projects on-site management and on social, economic, and political aspects of historic preservation. His books include The Once and Future New York: Historic Preservation and the Modern City (University of Minnesota Press, 2009) and Giving Preservation a History: Histories of Historic Preservation in the United States (edited with Max Page; Routledge, 2004).

Before joining the University of Pennsylvania Stuart Weitzman School of Design faculty in 2004, Mason worked as Senior Project Specialist at the Getty Conservation Institute, researching economic and social issues relating to heritage conservation. He contributed to Getty publications including Economics and Heritage ConservationValues and Benefits of Cultural Heritage Conservation, and Assessing the Values of Cultural Heritage. Previous positions include Assistant Professor and Director of Historic Preservation at the University of Maryland, and adjunct faculty in landscape architecture at RISD. His professional experience includes several years of consulting practice and he co-founded the nonprofit research group Minerva Partners (which developed projects to strengthen the connections between heritage conservation and social development).  He served on the Board of Directors of the Preservation Alliance of Greater Philadelphia from 2006-2013 and is currently on the board of Eastern State Penitentiary.
Mason was awarded the 2012-2013 National Endowment for the Arts Rome Prize, and during his residency at the American Academy in Rome researched the Roman architect, planner and conservationist Gustavo Giovanonni. Earlier in 2012, Mason was granted an Honorary Doctorate, Honoris Causa, from Gothenburg University in Sweden.


Mark Gardner (MArch’00)
Principal at Jaklitsch / Gardner Architects. 

Located in New York City,  Jaklitsch / Gardner Architects is an award-winning design practice and studio that works across scales from product design to interiors to buildings.  Mr. Gardner has led many of Jaklitsch / Gardner’s design initiatives and works to best understand the role of design as a social practice. His firm has won an AIA National Honor Award and numerous AIANY, NOMA and Architizer design awards. The practice is currently working with a non-profit partner on a Honey Bee Study Center in Dodoma, Tanzania. Mr. Gardner is the Assistant Professor of Architectural Practice and Society at the School of the Constructed Environments, Parsons the New School. Mr. Gardner is on the Board of Overseers for the University of Pennsylvania Weitzman School Of Design, where he is helping the school study issues of diversity and inclusion. He also currently serves on the Board of Made in Brownsville, a nonprofit on a mission to reduce the number of disconnected youth in Brownsville, Brooklyn by lowering their barriers to entry to the STEAM professions and increasing their relevant experience in the innovation economy. Mr. Gardner is a Past President and currently serves as Advocacy Chair for nycobaNOMA, the New York Chapter of the National Organization of Minority Architects. He is a member of the AIANY Exhibition Committee and Past Co-Chair and current member of the AIANY Diversity & Inclusion Committee, which he helped to restart with Venesa Alicea.  He is Vanguard Member of the Van Alen Institute’s Board of Trustees and a Fellow of the Urban Design Forum.


Charlette Caldwell (MSHP’16)
Penn Weitzman Alumni Association Board President
PhD Student, Columbia University
Research Fellow, The Center for the Preservation of Civil Rights Sites

Charlette Caldwell (MSHP’16) is a PhD student and Provost Diversity Fellow currently studying the history and theory of architecture at Columbia University. Her research focuses on nineteenth-century American architecture and vernacular architecture. She received a Master of Science in Historic Preservation from the University of Pennsylvania in 2016 and continues to work part-time in Philadelphia on various preservation projects.